2019 Illinois General Assembly Highlights
Bill Ward, Executive Vice President, HBAI
With so much happening in the Spring Session of the Illinois General Assembly, we are going to send you session highlights in two parts. This week, we focus on the legislative agenda put forth by Governor Pritzker in his first year in office. Next week, we will highlight legislation directly affecting home construction, remodeling, development, and ownership.
Pritzker Succeeds with “Think Big” Agenda
- A Constitutional Amendment has passed the House & Senate to be placed on the November 2020 ballot asking Illinois voters if they want to allow the Illinois General Assembly to set higher income tax rates on greater amounts of income. The question must pass with 3/5 approval of those voting on the question, or with a simple majority of all voters voting in the election. * HBAI opposed the Amendment.
- Legislation passed the House & Senate that will set the graduated income tax rates if the Constitutional Amendment passes in 2020. Here are the brackets for joint filers:
- 75% on $0 to $10,000
- 9% on $10,001 to $100,000
- 95% on $100,001 to $250,000
- 75% on $250,001 to $500,000
- 85% on $500,001 to $1 million
Brackets for single filers:
- First three brackets are the same as the first three joint brackets
- 75% on $250,001 to $350,000
- 85% on $350,001 to $750,000
Corporate Income Rate will move from 7 to 7.99%.
HBAI opposed the rates bill.
*If 5 million Illinoisans pull a ballot, the amendment must pass with 2,500,001 votes in favor of the amendment. If 4 million Illinoisans vote directly on the question of the amendment, 2.4 million yes votes are needed for passage.
- Governor Pritzker’s first bill enacted in February immediately increased the state’s minimum wage from $8.25 (set in 2010) to $9.25. Here are the new rates for each year following:
HBAI was Neutral on the minimum wage bill as it created a gradual and predictable increase.
- A $45 Billion Capital Plan passed the General Assembly that will support improvements to our transportation network (horizontal improvements) and will provide funds for other construction projects (vertical improvements) scattered amongst the 118 Representative Districts.
HBAI took no position on the passage of the Capital Plan.
- Gambling expansion was passed to help pay for the massive Capital Improvements Plan. Six new casinos were approved for Waukegan, Rockford, Danville, South Suburbs, Williamson County, and Chicago. Casinos, racetracks, and sports facilities seating over 17,000 people will be eligible for the first time to obtain sports betting licenses. A pilot program is also to be initiated to allow sports betting through the Illinois State Lottery. Proponents say the full measure could net the state of Illinois $12 billion in the next six years.
HBAI took no position on this initiative.
- The Capital Plan and the Gambling Expansion had bi-partisan support after Republicans asked for and received several concessions including:
- Tax Incentives for businesses hiring construction workers for major projects.
- Tax Incentives for developing high-tech data centers.
- A phase-out of the state’s franchise tax.
- Eliminating legislation that would virtually require oil refineries, chemical plants, and ethanol refineries to be union shops.
- Eliminating legislation that would double the state’s real estate transfer tax from $1 per $1000 property sold to $2 per $1000 property sold.
HBAI and the Illinois Realtors opposed the transfer tax legislation.
- Legalized recreational use of marijuana passed the General Assembly. If signed by the Governor, Illinoisans may possess roughly one ounce of marijuana flower, five grams of THC concentrate, or five grams of THC in a marijuana-infused product. The state will issue a limited number of licenses for growing, processing, and dispensing marijuana products. It also will charge an excise tax on the retail sale of marijuana. Proceeds from this program will, in part, pay for the Capital Improvements Plan.
- The tax on a pack of cigarettes will go from $1.95 to $2.98 on July 1.
- The General Assembly approved a $40 billion budget for fiscal year 2020. A new tax on Medicaid Managed Care Organizations will increase federal matching funds and will increase general revenue funds by $390 million. $1.7 billion is designated in the new budget for paying down the state’s backlog on unpaid invoices, which should save the state hundreds of millions of dollars per year in interest costs.
- Other Pritzker & Democratic Party Initiatives passed include:
- The most liberal abortion rights law passed the House & Senate and will be signed by the Governor.
- All businesses in Illinois must provide workplace sexual harassment training at least once per year.
- Scott’s Law will now have increased fines. Drivers failing to slow down or move over when approaching a vehicle parked on the side of the road will receive a first-time $500 fine. Repeat offenders will receive at least a $1000 fine and could go as high as $10,000 for repeated offenses.
- And, one major piece of legislation that did not pass this session was the FOID overhaul. The cost of a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card would have increased from $10 to $20 for five years and would have required a new mandate; fingerprinting. The bill passed the House but stalled in the Senate.
Coming up next week, Part II of our Legislative Highlights: the Housing Issues.